WHITMIRE — The youth of First Baptist Church in Whitmire and community members gathered together for a good cause July 18: to work on the home of Whitmire native Mildred Stapleton.
Youth Pastor Jarrod King said the idea for the service project came from a nudge he felt he got from God.
“I felt God pressed it upon me for quite some time to be involved in the community and show the love of Jesus through service projects,” King said.
After meeting with Dave Jarvis, who volunteers within First Baptist Church, and running the thought by Mayor Billy Hollingsworth, King said the idea came to life.
“The economic development board formed and was told about our interest and said they would love to partner with us,” King said.
Stapleton’s home was chosen as the first project, King said, and was picked by the Economic Development Board.
Board member Maria Mcmurtury said they try to identify residents in need of this sort of outreach, along with approaching residents and asking for referrals.
“When we did our town clean-up in March the board decided we would like to form a group in the community to help the seniors and disabled who did not have family to help them with home spruce up projects,” Mcmurtury said. “I felt their goal and ours was a perfect match.”
Altogether, King said they had about 13 youth and adult volunteers to work on Stapleton’s home. Work completed included stripping and repainting the porch and railing, as well as powerwashing the house and porch.
King said the homeowner told them no one had ever done anything like that for her.
“The youth really enjoyed themselves,” King said of the project. “More than once, they touched on how good it felt to help someone else and that they were surprised they enjoyed doing the labor as much as they did.”
King said doing community work such as this teaches the youth to live selflessly, as the Bible calls them to do.
“The driving motivation is trying to answer the second greatest commandment, which is what we’re trying to live out in these service projects,” King said.
That commandment, found in Mark 12:30-31, is to love your neighbor as yourself.
Mcmurtury said she felt it was also the community’s social responsibility to take care of the needs for those who cannot do it themselves.
“Whitmire is a small community and we are close enough to know who truly needs help. If we do not extend our hand out to help, what we prosper for ourselves will mean nothing. I believe we make a living by what we earn, we make a life by what we give,” Mcmurtury said.
Mcmurtury said her goal is to teach this to her children as well as to those in her care, such as the youth of First Baptist Church.
Another benefit comes in the form of economic development, Mcmurtury said.
Having attended a conference this past spring, Mcmurtury said the head of the S.C. Department of Commerce gave the message that communities needed to have their towns cleaned up if they were interested in industries looking at staying in their towns.
“No company wants to move into communities that are not clean and neat,” she said. “I hope going forward our home and business owners who are able will start a movement in Whitmire to do just that.”